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Teachers learn to teach students how to ‘shock’: Defibrillators go to school

OTTAWA, ON, 05/03/07

Today, 19 teachers from four Ottawa high schools will be trained to teach their students how to save lives with a defibrillator, through the ACT High School Defibrillator Pilot Project, the first of its kind in Canada.

Teachers from Glebe Collegiate Institute, Hillcrest High School, Immaculata High School, and St. Mark High School will be trained from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Immaculata High School by the Ottawa Paramedic Service. Through this training, teachers will learn how to instruct students in defibrillation as a part of the CPR training they currently receive in Grade 9.

The goal of the pilot is to expand students’ CPR training, increasing their ability to respond to cardiac emergencies in public places. Research shows that when early citizen CPR is combined with early defibrillation, the rate of survival for a person experiencing a cardiac arrest almost doubles.

“Easy-to-use defibrillators are appearing in many public places,” says Dr. Justin Maloney, an emergency physician and Medical Director for the ACT Foundation. “The schools teach young people to act, to start CPR. Now we want them to grab the defibrillator on the wall and use that too … schools teaching life skills that save lives.”

This project builds on the ACT High School CPR Program, which currently sees over 11,000 Ottawa students from nearly 50 high schools trained in CPR by their teachers as part of their high school education each year. The ACT (Advanced Coronary Treatment) Foundation launched the lifesaving CPR Program as a pilot in Ottawa in 1994 with the support of the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, the Ottawa Citizen, and other community partners. Mannequins were donated to schools and physical education teachers were trained as CPR Instructors for their students. The ACT Foundation has since expanded the Ottawa model to over 900 schools across Canada and over 900,000 youth have been trained in CPR to date. Based upon the successful Ottawa model, CPR has been included in the provincial curricula of Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba.

“We are now taking the next step in Ottawa and enhancing the CPR program for students to include defibrillation,” says ACT Foundation Executive Director Sandra Clarke. “Like the High School CPR Program, this defibrillator pilot project will provide us with a model for schools throughout Ottawa and, indeed, across Canada.”

In addition to today’s teacher training, the ACT High School Defibrillator Pilot Project will see each pilot school receive a defibrillator and training equipment. The pilot is funded through a portion of the proceeds raised through the Maharaja’s Ball, held last October in support of defibrillators for Ottawa.

About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is an award-winning, national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives. ACT is driving a national campaign to establish CPR as a mandatory program in every Canadian high school. The Foundation and its core partners are winners of Imagine Canada’s “New Spirit of Community Partnership” Award. Core partners are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. They provide ACT’s sustaining funding and are committed to the Foundation’s national goal of promoting health and empowering youth to save lives. For more information visit: www.actfoundation.ca.